St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the roadways. That’s why state public safety officials are warning Iowans who celebrate this year to not drink and drive.

The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau encourages Iowans who choose to drink this St. Patrick's Day to plan ahead by identifying a designated driver or utilize another form of safe transportation. According to state officials, extra law enforcement officers will be patrolling Iowa roadways between now and Saturday (March 16–19, 2016) -- watching for impaired drivers.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures show 28-percent of all crash fatalities during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in 2014 involved drunk drivers. The statistics also show the number of deadly accidents rose to 50-percent in the post-party hours of midnight to 6:00 a.m.

There is some good news, however. NHTSA figures indicate the number of fatalities during the St. Patrick's Day holiday period decreased nationally from 32 in 2013 to 29 in 2014. Likewise, the number of fatalities involving drunk drivers declined from more than one-third to one-fourth.

Federal officials report pedestrians walking while intoxicated are also at risk of getting hit by a vehicle. NHTSA statistics show 35-percent of the pedestrians killed in crashes in 2014 had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.